Vehicles (cars)

Unassessed vehicles (on which duty has not been paid) must be spontaneously declared to Swiss Customs at the border. The customs declaration can be made only at a customs office for merchandise and only during office hours.
If you wish to clear customs at an inland office, the Customs or Border Guard staff will issue a temporary certificate (form 15.25), which is valid for the subsequent two working days.

Registration

In order to be registered in Switzerland, the vehicle must comply with the Swiss provisions on construction and equipment. An EC certificate of conformity facilitates matters when putting the vehicle into circulation (no noise or exhaust emission test).
Depending on the vehicle's age, we recommend that you clarify the technical provisions and registration conditions with the vehicle licensing office in your canton of domicile.

Please note that exemption from type approval in the case of vehicles imported for personal use is only possible if the vehicle is admitted in the name of the recipient/importer. The directives of the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) are decisive.  

Additional information can be found at the following link: asa - Association of Vehicle Licensing Offices.

If you want to import vehicles from abroad on their own axles, temporary foreign registration numbers must generally be used for this purpose. Inquire in the exporting country or with your dealer about a temporary number plate for taking your vehicle across the border.
Registration at the cantonal vehicle licensing office (motor vehicle test centre) is possible only with an inspection report form no. 13.20A stamped by Swiss Customs, including the vehicle number for customs purposes (Stammnummer).

CO2 emission regulations for passenger vehicles
The Confederation is aiming to reduce average CO2 emissions in the case of new passenger vehicles. From 1 July 2012, a fine (sanction) will thus have to be paid when new passenger vehicles are registered for the first time if they do not reach a specific target value (on average 130 g of CO2 per km). This sanction will not, however, be imposed at the import customs clearance but will be imposed subsequently by the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). Therefore, when importing a new passenger vehicle for personal use, please take into account that a sanction tax may be incurred in addition to the customs clearance costs if the target value is not achieved. More detailed information can be found at the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) link below, where answers to other questions on this topic can also be found.   

Please present the following documents to Customs for the assessment:

  • Invoice or contract of sale
  • Vehicle registration document/certificate (even if already cancelled)
  • Proof of identity (passport, identity card, etc.)
  • Import customs declaration
  • Possibly proof of origin from seller

Customs duty rates

The rates of duty are the same for used and new vehicles. Depending on the cylinder capacity and weight of the vehicle in running order, they range from CHF 12 to CHF 15 per 100 kg gross weight for cars.
For motorbikes, the rate is CHF 37 per 100 kg gross weight.

Details can be found in the Electronic Customs Tariff: www.tares.admin.ch. Are you trying to find the correct customs tariff number? Go to the link indicated and enter tariff number 8703 in the "Search by tariff number" field. Alternatively, enter "motor cars" in the "Search by text" field.

Free trade agreements/customs preference

Vehicles originating in countries with which Switzerland has concluded a free trade agreement or from developing countries can be imported duty-free (customs preference). Valid proof of origin is mandatory for the importation of so-called goods of preferential origin.

Furthermore, it should be noted that customs preference can generally be granted only if vehicles are imported directly from the country of origin. In this regard, the EU and all of its member states counts as one country. Details can be found at (in french): D.30 Accords de libre-échange and Free trade agreements, origin.

Automobile duty

The importation of cars and certain delivery vans as well as minibuses is subject to the automobile duty. The rate amounts to 4% of the vehicle's value (including customs duties, excluding VAT).
Motorbikes are not subject to the automobile duty.

Fees: Inspection report form 13.20A

Registration at the cantonal vehicle licensing office (motor vehicle test centre) is possible only with an inspection report form 13.20A stamped by Swiss Customs. You will receive this from us at the time of assessment; it costs CHF 20.

Value added tax (importation tax)

Value added tax amounts to 8% of the assessment basis.

The assessment basis generally comprises the consideration paid for the car in question, included de value of an possible exchanged car. The invoice or contract of sale forms the basis.
In certain cases, the market value is taken into account, e.g. in the case of a gift. The market value corresponds to the sum that another buyer would have had to pay for the item.

The costs up to the destination in Switzerland as well as customs duties, the automobile duty and all fees are added to this value.
The foreign VAT can be subtracted from the the calculation basis provided it is indicated by the seller on the invoice or the contract of sale.

Value details in foreign currencies are converted into Swiss francs using the exchange rate (forex sell rate) listed on the last trading day before the import tax liability arises, generally the preceding day, Exchange rates (sell).

If value details are not provided or if there is doubt concerning the value information, the value of the goods will estimate. This can lead to higher taxes.

Payment of duties

In principle, import duties are payable in cash directly at the point of entry.

Customs clearance agencies, freight forwarders or logistics companies charged with customs formalities generally pay the duties and then bill them to the client.
We have no influence on the processing fees of such companies. Before the goods are imported, clarify which party is to be handling customs clearance (see also for example the List of SPEDLOGSWISS members). We are unable to provide recommendations regarding firms or agencies.

Do you import goods on a regular basis? If so, we recommend the Customs Administration's centralised billing procedure, ZAZ for short. Details are available at: Centralised settlement procedure ZAZ.

Notes

When re-importing an assessed vehicle registered in Switzerland following processing abroad, the general provisions set out in the Information individuals apply.

Special provisions apply in the case of immigrants' vehicles. Information is available at the following link: FAQ removal goods.

Additional information concerning the vehicles of foreign workers and students can be obtained from the district directorates of customs.

Leased vehicles

Vehicles financed by a bank (leasing) are treated in the same way as those paid for in cash. The financial institution must consent to the exportation of the vehicle. The financing can impact the registration of the vehicle in Switzerland. Information on this can be obtained from vehicle licensing offices: asa - Association of Vehicle Licensing Offices.

Our opening hours and addresses

Please note the customs office opening hours for the declaration (customs clearance) of merchandise. Declarations can be made from Monday to Friday during clearance hours; some customs offices are also open on Saturday mornings.

The detailed opening hours are available in the list of customs offices.

Foreign customs administrations

We are not able to provide you with any information on foreign regulations. Please direct your query to the foreign customs authority.

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